Philippines Battles Forest Fires in Protected Areas

 09 Apr 2016 - 13:52

Philippines Battles Forest Fires in Protected Areas
 

Manila: The Philippines is battling forest fires in four of protected areas amid intense summer heat, environment officials said Saturday.
Local officials and the military are "putting up fire lines to stop the blaze from spreading," said Michael Drake Matias, chief of the environmental impact assessment division of the Environmental Management Bureau.
The military has also been dumping crushed ice into the forest fires, which are affecting Mount Apo in Davao province, Mount Matutum in South Cotabato, Mount Kitanglad in Bukidnon and Mount Kanlaon on Negros Island.
Officials might suspend access to the popular trekking areas, amid reports that some fires could have been started by careless mountaineers, Matias told a Manila radio station.
"But it is also important for the public to see these areas to help them understand the need to protect the environment," he said. "The intense summer heat is also a factor in these fires." Environment Secretary Ramon Paje earlier stressed the need for the public to exercise vigilance against the risk of forest fires in such protected areas.
He noted that the affected mountains are sanctuaries for some of the country's endangered species and endemic plants.
The Philippines has a total of 113 designated protected areas, many in maritime zones of the archipelago, but including 84 on land covering 2.2 million hectares. 

QNA